Why Employee Social Media Access is Good for Business

In contemporary culture, social media is woven into all aspects of daily life. Major news announcements often make their way across the social media landscape long before they’re seen on TV news programs. Individuals use video chat to communicate with friends and family on the internet and on their smart phones. All of these things take place in real time and occur no matter where a person may be – even while they are at work. So is it surprising to you that more than half of the businesses in the marketplace still purposely block employee access to social media sites?

While the number of businesses that actively invest in preventing employees from using social media while at work has decreased over the past couple of years, the number that still do block social media is astounding, especially when you consider the business benefits of giving employees social media access.

Granted, having access to social media on the job is entirely dependent upon the kind of position an employee holds. For instance, an individual working a piece of industrial equipment should not be scrolling through Tweets. There’s a time and a place for everything and putting restrictions on internet access and cell phone usage is a legitimate business practice, but there are some distinct advantages to allowing office, administrative and other staff to have social media access during the workday. Even providing production staff with computers which can be accessed during their breaks and lunches can be beneficial. Here are some of the arguments in favor of loosening the reins on employee social media access.

Almost all companies are now investing at least a portion of their own marketing dollars and resources in social media. Those companies that currently block their own employees from accessing social media accounts while working are getting into the social enterprise activities too. This sends a poor message to employees. Essentially it says, “We believe in the power of social media for increasing our sales and promotional activities, but we don’t trust our workers to keep their social media activities to a reasonable degree.” In other words, it tells employees they are untrustworthy and would while away their workday playing on the internet.

Every message you send to your employees is important and your staff is smart. They will recognize the contradiction and will call you on it. Send the right message and increase moral in the process. Simply address your concerns with productivity and “reasonable” usage of social media during the workday.

Additionally, social media is becoming a more integral part of the way many people do their jobs. This is certainly true for anyone in a professional position. Communicating with colleagues on professional networking sites, boosting brand recognition through the creation of blogs or participation in online business forums, and the use of video conferencing programs are all forms of social media that are common in today’s workplace. Allowing these kinds of social media into the daily grind but trying to prevent the use of other social networking by employees also sends mixed messages and leads to moral problems.